Founded in 1968 by J. Morris Anderson, the Miss Black America system was developed to reverse the negative propaganda of the Black woman and her role in America. Today, as our nation embraces Black beauty, MBA remains ever committed to the empowerment of women of color throughout America, representing all of our sisters of the African Diaspora.
I was so excited to attend the Smithsonian Museum of African Art’s recent one on one discussion with Ruth E. Carter, the famed costume designer for the new Marvel film The Black Panther.
Featuring an all Black cast, the movie takes place in the fictional land of Wakanda, said to be located around eastern Africa.
Carter, who shared her journey developing the costumes, emphasized that although the place (Wakanda) is literally nonexistent, its African essences pulled from countries all across the continent, proving that “Wakanda” truly lives in all of us.
Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER L to R: Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) Ph: Film Frame ©Marvel Studios 2018
Ruth E. Carter:
“The idea was to present a new model for a vision of Afrofuturism,” Carter said during the Saturday, Feb. 10 event. “I had to make this Black Panther costume come to life. From designing the texture of the fabric all the way to lacing the entire suit with vibranium — this sacred metal only found in Wakanda. … There’s this sacred geometry when you look at the continent of Africa. There’s a triangle that’s used throughout the continent and all other types of forms. So we took a tiny triangle and we printed on the fabric. So when you get up close, and you will, you’ll see that little triangle throughout.
“That overall patterning throughout the suit —with or without the Black Panther’s helmet on — became the king’s clothes in a way, so not only is he a superhero, but he is also this African king,” she said. “And that was one of my major contributions to the film.
“That’s what’s so great about this project,” she said. “You should be able to say you’re from Wakanda, you’re part of … the Turkana tribe,” Carter said. “That’s the beauty of what this film can do for you. You should be able to pick it apart and say, ‘I’m gonna find out more about myself.”’
Partnering with Verona Collection, an upscale Islamic boutique, Macy’s will make history as the first major retailer to exclusively carry fashion products for both Muslim and non-Muslim women across the U.S.
Set to hit Macy’s online Feb. 15, the complete line is perfectly full of cool and warm colored hijabs (headscarves), tops, pants, dresses and abayas, (a loose garment worn by some Muslim women) for all confident females
“Verona Collection is more than a clothing brand, it is a platform for a community of women to express their personal identity and embrace fashion that makes them feel confident on the inside and outside.” -Lisa Vogl, Founder
That New New Satin Jacket – Dusty Pink, Fashion Nova ($39) • Euronike, ALDO ($35) • Etched Ring Set, Forever21 ($6) • Jazzy Belle Burgundy Dress, Lulus ($42) • Burgundy Basic Block Heel, Windsor Store ($27)
Unfortunately, in most parts of Egypt, the brilliant shine of dark skin is not appreciated, and the lighter, more Anglo-Saxon complexions are instead preferred, despite the origin of the country’s Nubian people, who once proudly boasted goldeny chocolate hues, on the upper east side of Africa.
Amna Elshandaweely, who grew up in Egypt, spent a large portion of her life being scrutinized over her skin’s darker tint. But in a fiery revolution, Elshandaweely is bringing Black Love Back, celebrating what it means to be an African and what it symbolizes to proudly be a person of color.
Taking the fashion industry by storm, Elshandaweely uses inspirations and patterns from places like Kenya, Fayoum-Egypt and the history prints of the Nubian people (who til this day, have the facial features of the pharaohs) to create her beautiful high-fashion garments.
With her eponymous tribal wear brand and her exploration of African identity, Elshandaweely challenges the norm of lighter skin and shades of lighter fabric as being “the most beautiful.”
Using dark-skinned models in her catalogues and giving cocoa-skinned Egyptians a chance to see themselves widely represented in a positive light, Elshandaweely is a modern day Wonder Woman.